Although attributing human characteristics to creatures is dangerous, one cannot help believe this magnificent osprey looks pissed. Eyes fixed on my every movement, wings the size of the sky, mouth open and squawking. I stumbled too close to its nest or its dinner or something. It turned on me from above, clearly in charge. The redness of its wings is a reflection of the intensity of the setting sun, not its actual coloring.
We have 3 pairs of ospreys that nest on the perimeter and fly over our urban greenway each June and July and fill the sky with reassuring Momma chirps to panicked baby cries for help.
The osprey species is at least 11 million years old, humans around 200,000 years. Ospreys live on every continent except Antarctica. They are known for their reversible toes that allow them to pluck fish from the water and clutch their catch across the sky to their lifelong half-time home. They also have closable nostrils for diving. In the Middle Ages, ospreys were believed to have magical powers, including the ability to mesmerize fish into giving up.
In the fall, young osprey fly south following the coast through Central America to northern South America, but they don't come back the following spring. They remain behind while their parents head north. If they survive the migration south, a year-and-a-half in South America by themselves, and a return flight north they will return home territory to attract a mate and build a nest.